Good-bye for now, American Idol.

I have always been REALLY into TV.  How long?  Since I can remember, when I would watch Sanford & Sons and The Beverly Hillbillies with my dad on a daily basis.  I sometimes wish that I could watch TV for a job (like this lady).

Moving to the Netherlands, we didn't know what we would find for TV.  And for about three weeks, we didn't have any TV, since it took a while for that and internet to get set up.  I lived, of course I did.  Read more books, broke out the Elmo DVD to keep J#3 entertained once in a while, and spent more time talking with J#1.  

We subscribed to Dutch cable.  What did we find?  A ton of American shows (past seasons of Big Bang Theory, Desperate Housewives and many more) in English with Dutch subtitles.  You think that would have kept me entertained.  And happy. But it didn't satisfy me.  

So we subscribed to a service that streams American TV to our computer, for a pretty penny (think the cost for a night at a pretty decent hotel), each month.   So for the last five months I've been using precious nap time to catch up on all of my American faves.  

Since these last five months have included the last trimester of my pregnancy and six weeks of recuperating from my c-section, I think we definitely didn't waste money.  It has even helped me feel more "connected" to  the U.S. 

But, the time has come to say good-bye.  Good-bye, Days of our Lives.  Good-bye, American Idol.  Since I can't watch you on Itunes, guess I won't find out if Sami founds out about Rafe.  But, I am sure someone will tell me who wins American Idol.    

Hello to: planning how to check off items on my bucket list, finishing starting AND finishing J#3's baby book/scrapbook, updating our family website, more blog posts and in general, being more productive.  Oh, and reading.  Welcome back to my life.  

Don't worry, Itunes is a great resource for me to kept up to date on my favorite shows like Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice and Parenthood.   But I am going to limit my viewing time to just a few select shows.  

What would be the shows you wouldn't be able to "live without"? 


Sweets? No thank you.

Lent begins today. Across the world there are people deciding what they will forgo for forty days (and forty nights). Some people may forego the internet, Facebook, or TV.  Yeah, right--you won't see me doing that!  I actually sort of did that when we first move to the Netherlands, but I will tell you about that in another post.

Each year I spend a lot of time deciding what I am going to give up, and usually don't do a very good job of sticking with it.  So, this year, I am making it public.  Telling you all what I am giving up, so if you catch me considering a bite (oh wait, most of you are in the States...tehehe), you can slap my hand.

Here it is: I am going to give up sweets.  Yes, it is possible!  At least for my Mom it was.  Most years as I grew up she would give up sweets, and she stuck with it all forty days.  Very impressive.  Taking her lead from years ago, that is what I am going to do this year.  And maybe next year.  But lets not get ahead of ourselves.

First, lets say "good-bye for now" to sugar-filled indulgences like:

Oh, yes, Joey was totally digging his birthday cake this year

Banana bread and other scrumptious breakfast pastries like Appleflaps (Apple turnovers in NL)

Banana bread made by yours truly!  I can't believe it, but it
makes regular appearances around here these days
Ice Cream, cookies, and candy, oh candy how I will miss you...  I have to say, during this last pregnancy I developed one monster sweet tooth, so that will make this a bit difficult.  On the other hand, since I would have to cross an ocean to get to girl scout cookies, Reese's Peanut Butter cups and Dairy Queen, maybe it won't be so hard? 

I'll plan on updating you along the way.  Hopefully this has some side benefits like more energy, weight loss and a better appreciation for fruit.  

So if you are giving anything up for Lent, what is it??   Anyone want to join me and try and tackle giving up sweets?  


TIme flies...

Two years ago today, we walked into a hospital in New Jersey as a couple.   A few days later, we left that hospital as a family.  We couldn't believe they were letting us leave the hospital with such a precious little boy.   Really, we can do this??   Looks like we can!

Happy 2nd Birthday to J#3!
March 2009

March 2011

From New Jersey to Minnesota to the Netherlands, J#3 has been our little buddy.  He makes his daddy and me happier than anyone or anything else in the world can.  His hugs and kisses are my favorite part of each day.  Life has sure changed with him (and his sister) along for the ride, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  


Lost in translation

ikea and I are on a "break".  If you know my recent love affair with ikea since our move to the Netherlands, you will know that this is sort of a big deal.  Well, I guess it isn't in the big scheme of things, (and it will likely save us some money) but it is just a little disappointing.  

The first few months we were here we had a weekly ritual.  Every Friday night we would head to Ikea for dinner (Swedish Meatballs, oh how I will miss you) and do some shopping.  For the last month and a half, we hadn't been able to make our weekly trip since we were busy having a baby and getting her settled in.

There were a few reason for our original weekly ritual:
#1.  We had just moved, and for about 5 weeks most of our furniture and belongings were on a ship making the trip to join us,      so we had to have a few things to get us through (bed, couch, shower poofs).  
Can you find J#3 in the sea of Ikea packaging? (a.ka. our couch)
#2.  There are a TON of kids in the Ikea restaurant.  It seems as though you never see kids in restaurants here, and we like to go out to eat now and then as a family.  We feel like part of the crowd at the Ikea restaurant.  Plus, do you know how affordable dinner at Ikea is?? We even spring for dessert!  

The reason for the break?  They are expanding their store here in Eindhoven.  Of course, I didn't know this until our return home for our non-existent trip there today.  After a visit to their web-site upon our return, I learned they are expanding the store, restaurant and parking ramp. This is great news, yes.  But, right now they are working on the parking ramp.  Which means you have to park about a half mile away and take a shuttle bus to the store. "To Ikea?  Where you buy a lot of large packages?",  you might ask. Yes, to Ikea.  No worries, they do have information on picking up packages on their website.  And that is where the title of this posting comes in. 

After using Google Chrome (love it!) to translate the Netherlands Ikea website into English, here is the low down: 
"Large packages can just take the car to get out of our store. Even if your purchases back to the customer will spend, you can just take the car on our site."  Umm, yeah.  So I think we could drive back to the store (and just not park there) to pick up the bookcase we were going to buy today.  But, alas, a shuttle bus, with a little boy one day short of two and a 5 week old, just didn't seem like a great idea.  So back home we went.  

When will we return to Ikea and end this "break"?  Good question.  Unfortunately, the web-site doesn't tell us when the "rebuilding" will end.  But I am sure it won't last forever.   After all, we feel like we are probably part of the reason they have to expand.  After all, for Christmas, J#3 received our third kitchen from Ikea.  
Ikea Kitchen #2 (in our house in Minnesota)
Ikea Kitchen #3 (smaller, and luckily less expensive and easier to assemble)


Birth in the Netherlands

I just realized something.  I am the boss of this blog, so to speak.  If I decide to add something I have already done to my list...I can.  So, I have.

Giving birth in a foreign country (other than the U.S.A.) has been added, and checked off the list.  Since it is a bit of a new and different experience that a lot of my readers probably won't have the chance to experience, I thought I would share some reflections on giving birth in the Netherlands, including my time in the hospital.  I know that this can be very different from other countries in Europe.  I have heard stories about different care for baby, longer hospital stays, etc.  But this is just my story.  Not a full birth story--especially since it was a c-section.  Pretty formulaic.

Keep in mind, the only thing I have to compare this too was giving birth in Morristown, New Jersey.  The hospital there (Morristown Memorial) was pretty great.  The maternity ward had recently been remodeled, and they only had single rooms.

Perfect place to start.  When we checked into the hospital--at about 10 AM, for a planned c-section at 1 PM (which ended up being more like 2 PM), we were taken to a labor room, I will call it.  There was just one bed in this room and so without knowing that I would be moved to another room, I was excited, thinking "Yeah!  Private room!"  No such luck.  We were in this room while we waited for me to go to the surgical area, and then we were in there for about one to two hours after J#4 was born and after I got out of recovery.

Like I mentioned earlier, the c-section was pretty much the same.  And since I am sure people don't want to see my internal organs, here is our first photo with J#4.  A few things to note about the operating the room.  Everyone there was extremely kind.  They were also very concious of the fact that we are Americans and don't speak Dutch.  I was a bit distracted, but J#1 says that as anyone walked in the room, someone would quick say to them "American, speak English".   Since there were so many doctors in the room (it is a teaching hospital), they had someone take photos for us, including the one above.  We had about 10 times the number of photos that we did of J#3's birth.  If you really want to see my internal organs--and J#4 all covered in goo, please let me know and I can email them to you.  Ha. I am sure my mailbox will reach its limit now. 

The recovery room was definately a bit different.  In New Jersey, we were in a recovery room with just maternity patients.  Not the case this time around.  In fact, I saw someone come in with a pretty bad head wound.  Wonder if they were in a biking accident?  I was there by myself.  Instead of J#1 and J#4 joining me there, like in New Jersey, I joined them in that labor room we first "checked"into. 
J#3 & J#4 on my hospital bed
I shared my room for the rest of my stay (up until my last night) with a native Eindhoven resident.  She was extremely friendly, and I was so lucky that she could also translate for me!  Generally, most people knew English, but there were a few people who didn't.   For sharing a room, I couldn't have asked for a better roomie.  

The food.  Oh, the food.  Lunch was usually a big meal.  Of course, the menu was in Dutch, so I was sort of guessing what I would be eating the next day.  Luckily, food is one the items that I have been able to learn in Dutch (since grocery shopping is a necessity) so I wasn't totally in the dark.  Breakfast AND dinner were sandwiches.  Bread, sliced meat, and cheese. With some margarine, if you like.  The food was the one driver that made me extremely excited to get home!  

After heading home, my mom and her husband were visiting for a month, so that they could help with J#3 (can't be lifting a 30 lb little guy right after a c-section!).  Lucky they were there.  The mid-wives that came to visit (YES! At the house!) were interested to find out that I didn't have a Kramzorg.  A "kramzorg" is essentially a baby nurse, and pretty much everyone in the Netherlands has them there after birth until the baby's 8th day.  Due to insurance issues, I wasn't able to have one.  So my Mom took on that role (thank you again Mom!).  Which is much better anyway, because I felt much more comfortable then I am guessing I would have with a stranger. 

To be honest, the one thing I was most nervous about when moving to the Netherlands was giving birth here.  Turns out, shouldn't have worried about it!   That always happens to me though.  About 98% of the time, whatever I worry about, is something that I didn't need to worry about in the first place.  

How about you?  After you think about it for a few minutes, don't most things you worry about turn out to be okay? One of my favorite sayings is "Everything happens for a reason".  


Updates & Energy

Wow.  It is March?!?  Where has the time gone?

Oh, wait, I gave birth.  To a sweet, adorable little girl.
J#4 was born on February 1, at about 2:30 in the afternoon.  Guess I should have had "give birth in a European hospital" on my bucket list.  But alas, I don't.  Who cares?  I get to stare at this beautiful face whenever I want to. 

Unfortunately, I have been absent.  Like I mentioned before, not a good time to be absent seeing as how I just start this here blog.  But, now that a month has passed, and so far the kiddos have been sharing their nap time, I should be able to make more regular appearances!  

Progress has been made on the list.  Hotel booked in Paris, very close to booking hotel and flights to Ireland.  More to come on a visit to Scotland soon too.   I have been working my way through the bible slowly.  While I won't get it done in 90 days, I hope to get it done this year.  Seems acceptable, with two kids under two (at least until Sunday), right? 

As an aside...who came up with this teething thing?  Why must it drag out so long?  I am really hoping that J#3 is done teething before J#4 starts.  

I have quite a bit more energy these days, dare I say, even more than before Jillian was born.  Although, seeing as how I was 9 months pregnant, guess that might not be too hard.  

Oh, you will notice I am using some #s now.  I think that is how I will refer to the fam, so:  husband=J#1, almost 2 year old son=J#3 and one month old daughter will be J#4.  I am J#2, but hopefully I won't find it necessary to refer to myself in the 3rd person very often.  

Any bets on whether I will be back tomorrow? 
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